Skip to main content

Full text of "Mathematical And Physical Papers - Iii"

See other formats

the refrangibility of the incident light, and find where this line cuts the straight line OL which bisects the angle ocOy.
On the cause of the clearness of fluids, notivithstanding a copious internal dispersion which they may exhibit.
86. It has been already remarked, that though water holding a water colour in suspension makes an admirable imitation of a highly sensitive fluid, when the latter is viewed by dispersive reflexion alone, the two fluids have a totally different appearance when viewed by transmitted light. The cause of this difference appears to be plain enough. The light due to internal dispersion emanates from each portion of the fluid which is under the influence of the active light, and emanates apparently in all directions alike. I have not attempted to determine experimentally whether the intensity is strictly the same in all directions. The experiment would be very difficult, especially for directions nearly coinciding with that of the active light, because in that case the light which was really due to internal dispersion would be mixed up with the glare which is always found in the neighbourhood of light of dazzling brightness. However, I have seen nothing which led me to suppose that the intensity was different in different directions. We may express the results of observation extremely well, by saying that the fluid or solid medium is self-luminous so long as it is under the influence of the active light.
Accordingly, when a bright object, such as the sky, or the flame of a candle, is viewed through a highly sensitive fluid, the regularly transmitted light is accompanied by some side light due to internal dispersion. The latter, however, emanating in all directions alike from the influenced particles, is too faint, when contrasted with the regularly transmitted light, to make any sensible impression on the eye. But when a fluid, itself insensible, holds in suspension a great number of solid particles of finite size, the light reflected from such part.ic.ies is reinforced, in directions nearly coinciding with that, of the incident light, by a great quantity of diffracted light, so that a bright object viewed through such a fluid is surrounded by a sort of nebulous haze, giving the fluid a milky appearance.